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Draymond Green scores big with advertisers

Warriors forward is in several commercials despite not being a big-time scorer

OAKLAND, California — Commercials with NBA stars are typically reserved for the big scorers. Golden State Warriors forward Draymond Green is the exception.

The three-time NBA All-Star is swashbuckling in a recent YouTube TV commercial, treating his basketball shoes like a baby for Nike, talking about the importance of getting children’s teeth fixed economically for Smile Direct Club, pranking homebuyers with Realtor.com and dribbling in West Oakland while E-40 raps and hip-hop dancers “go dumb” for Beats by Dre. And every time Green sees a commercial, it’s humbling for the two-time NBA champion, who is not known for scoring.

“I have moments all the time where it’s more so appreciation for the things that God has blessed me with,” Green said. “I don’t take it for granted. I still sometimes sit back and say, ‘Wow.’ To be in this position is great, and I’m really grateful for it.

“When my daughter sees me on a commercial, she says, ‘Papa, there you go.’ When my [infant] son is playing in the living room and all of the sudden sees me on TV and looks back at me and looks back, he’s confused. Those are special moments for me.”

The 6-foot-7, 230-pounder has averaged 9.3 points per game during his six-year NBA career. Green is viewed as a tough defender, fiery competitor and emotional trash-talker whom NBA foes, fans and perhaps even referees either love or hate.

So why is Green in so many commercials despite ranking 60th in the NBA in scoring this season?

The 2017 NBA Defensive Player of the Year is the heart and soul of the reigning champions’ defense. The 28-year-old is an unselfish forward who averaged 7.3 assists and 7.6 rebounds per game this season. Green also is outspoken on and off the court, has a great sense of humor, loves to challenge his haters and talk about social justice, and is quite comfortable in his own skin. The three-time NBA All-Defensive team selection also went from making less than a million dollars in his first three NBA seasons to signing a five-year, $82 million contract with the Warriors in 2015.

“I just grinded, put my head down and worked,” Green said. “It doesn’t hurt to be in the situation that I’m in.”

Omar Johnson, former chief marketing officer for Beats by Dre, said Green is so attractive to advertisers because he is a “certified leader, beyond charismatic and one of the smartest players in the league.”

“He’s worthy of any blue-chip or multibillion-dollar company’s ad dollars,” Johnson said. “Draymond scores in multiple dimensions. You’re going to be hard-pressed to find someone more personable, intelligent and humble. People always talk about his big personality, but there is something bigger. Draymond just shines. You don’t find that combination in many athletes. Those combinations usurp scoring. He’s always made our brand proud in interviews, locker rooms and business settings.”

Green doesn’t have multicolored hair or a nose ring. He hasn’t sold books wearing a wedding dress. But the last NBA star who was not a big scorer and still got this much attention off the court probably was Dennis Rodman.

Rodman has 27 IMDB credits, including being on the television show Baywatch and movies such as Eddie with Whoopi Goldberg, B*A*P*S with Halle Berry and Double Team with Jean-Claude Van Damme. The Hall of Famer wrote several books, including his first autobiography, Bad as I Wanna Be, in 1996 after winning a title with the Chicago Bulls. The cover had a nude Rodman sitting on a motorcycle. The two-time All-Star averaged 7.3 points and 13.1 rebounds per game during his NBA career. And just as Green plays with three fellow All-Stars in Stephen Curry, Kevin Durant and Klay Thompson, the outspoken Rodman played with Michael Jordan, Scottie Pippen, Isiah Thomas, Joe Dumars and David Robinson.

Green can understand the comparison to “The Worm.”

“Rodman was great. I knew who he was,” Green said. “I watched a lot of things that he did. He played with Michael Jordan. We all wanted to watch Mike. With the Pistons, he played with Joe and Isiah and people wanted to watch them. But nonetheless, people might think that about me. But I don’t really care.”

Green averaged 11.4 points, 11.2 rebounds, 8.0 assists and 1.4 steals per game in five contests during a victorious first-round playoff series against the San Antonio Spurs. Despite being described as an undersized forward, Green had 18 and 19 rebounds, respectively, in the last two games. Green will quickly remind you that he was a big scorer at Michigan State and has some big-scoring NBA games as well. But NBA followers should “stop judging [scoring] numbers all the time. Open your eyes and watch,” Green said.

“A lot of guys score the basketball and they don’t do nothing for their team,” he added. “You see guys put up empty 20s and 30s all the time. I’ve never been that guy to go out there and score 30 points and not have a good game. I’ve had some of my best nights with four points, two points, and I know I dominated the game more so than the guy who had 25 or 30 on their team. I don’t put emphasis on [scoring].”

Next up for Green and the Warriors is NBA All-Star Anthony Davis and the New Orleans Pelicans, who swept and dominated the Portland Trail Blazers in the first round of the Western Conference playoffs. Green averaged 11 points, 8.3 assists and 7.8 rebounds in four regular-season games against New Orleans this season. Game 1 of the second-round series tips off Saturday night in Oakland.

“That’s tough because A.D. [Davis] is a great player,” Green said. “He can handle the ball, he can shoot, he is 7 feet with a super long wingspan. Nevertheless, we have a great defense. Our staff will come up with a great game plan, and we will go from there.”

Curry, a two-time NBA Most Valuable Player, is recovering from a Grade 2 MCL sprain suffered March 23. He is questionable for the opener in the Pelicans series. A source told The Undefeated that Curry is hopeful he can return for Game 1.

Green is more worried about Curry’s health than his possible return.

“We want him as soon as he can, but we don’t want him to rush back,” Green said. “We have enough guys to handle our work until he is back healthy and ready to go. But the sooner he can get back the better, just as long as he is not putting himself at high risk to reinjure himself.”

Green and the Warriors are seeking their third NBA championship in four years. While Green may never be a top-20 NBA scorer, his résumé includes multiple titles and All-Star appearances and an Olympic gold medal. With a more well-rounded game than Rodman’s, Green could join Rodman in the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame one day.

And if he does make the Hall of Fame after retiring, the second-round draft pick turned NBA star can begin his commercials by saying, “As a champion and a Hall of Famer …”

“I want to be great. I want to be in the Hall of Fame,” Green said.

Marc J. Spears is the senior NBA writer for Andscape. He used to be able to dunk on you, but he hasn’t been able to in years and his knees still hurt.